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News Article

Edinburgh 2020: How city aims to increase visitors by one third

Strategy sets out plans to grow tourism in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), a forum for the businesses which make up Edinburgh's tourism sector (including transport and accommodation providers, attractions, venues, theatres, shops, bars, restaurants, conferences, events and festivals) has set out a strategy for increasing tourism further in the coming years. EDINBURGH 2020 sets out three core objectives for the Edinburgh tourism sector to deliver on, each critical to creating job opportunities, generating further inward investment and maintaining Edinburgh's standing as an internationally leading destination.

The Strategy is launched in the wake of several challenging years for tourism in Europe, and an ongoing economic downturn in a Europe which still has to solve debt problems in the Euro-zone. ETAG concedes that "Developing and delivering a new Edinburgh Tourism Strategy against this background is clearly challenging." However, the group says that with a strong asset base and a pipeline of investments in tourism-related products and infrastructure, it believes that it can grow the tourism sector. Targets for the period to 2020 are:-

  • Increase the number of visits and visitors by one third by 2020, representing 4.39 million visitors per annum in 2020 compared to 3.37 million in 2010
  • Increase the value of visitor spend by 38%, up from £1015 million in 2010 to £1404 million in 2020
  • Reduce seasonality across the sector by generating an additional 150,000 trips and 318,000 visitor nights, resulting in an additional spend of £33 million per annum, between the months of November to March, by 2020.

In 2010, visitor spending was £1 billion per annum, compared to £250 million in 1990. The value of spending is only exceeded by London among UK cities. Employment in tourism now accounts for about 12% of the city's workforce, or 32,000 individuals, with the potential to create a further 6500 new jobs by 2020. Hotel occupancy has grown from 57% in 1990 to 77% in 2010.

Core market segments for Edinburgh are:-

  • Association conferences, predominantly in autumn and spring
  • Corporate meetings in autumn, winter and spring midweek periods
  • Domestic leisure breaks at weekends and in autumn and spring
  • Domestic and international holidays in spring and summer
  • Various leisure events, including the Festivals

Priorities set out in the Strategy include growing short-haul European markets, and targeting 'Distant Cousins' in the USA, Canada and Australia. In the conference market, ETAG believes it can grow market share in meetings of associations relating to subjects in which the city's academic and commercial R&D sectors excel, such as medicine and life sciences.

The Strategy can currently be downloaded from the ETAG website.

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 10 February 2012
  • Subject(s)
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Hospitality Sector
  • Tourism